BREAKING: Ohio State hires Arkansas DC Chris Ash as Co-DC. Finalizes deal with DL coach Larry Johnson. http://t.co/gglYVfHFAV
— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) January 14, 2014
According to Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated, the Ohio State Buckeyes have hired Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash to be their co-defensive coordinator. The Buckeyes had already come to agreement with defensive line coach Larry Johnson to replace Mike Vrabel, who went to the Houston Texans. Ash comes in to replace Everett Withers, who was the co-defensive coordinator last season along with Luke Fickell. Withers took the head coaching job at James Madison.
This reignites a rivalry between Ohio State and Bret Bielema, the head coach of the Razorbacks. Previously, he was the head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers. Ash had been the defensive coordinator under Bielema not only at Arkansas but at Wisconsin with him as well. Like Withers, Ash’s speciality is working with defensive backs, which was a big issue this past year for the Buckeyes. They had a lot of talent but were constantly in problematic situations and missed plays. The Buckeyes were hugely impacted by the loss of Christian Bryant to an ankle injury early in the year, but the secondary just never played up to their talent level, which was integral in both of their losses.